It’s been a long time since I’ve blogged but a lot has been happening with the Digital Tolkien Project.

The first bit of news I’d like to announce is the creation of a Discord Server for anyone interested in the project, no matter how casually. While we’ve had a Slack workspace for a long time, it’s been restricted to close collaborators and the pricing model of Slack doesn’t really support having a larger community. I was also conscious that a lot of updates about the project were only being made on Twitter and I wanted an alternative for people to follow along, ask questions, and maybe even get involved.

And so my good friend and collaborator Sarah Monnier offered to set up a Discord Server. Sarah has also recently started running the Facebook page for the project.

You can join the Discord Server here.

So far it’s been a wonderful success with 120 members at last count.

One thing that immediately came out of the Discord Server was people willing to help with speaker identification (i.e. annotating who is saying a particular bit of direct speech). Sarah and I set up series of Google Sheets for people to fill out without the need to share the copyrighted text.

Thanks to an amazing effort from Pat Lusk, Carrie Gross, Deniz Bevan, Sarah, and especially Maureen Dillon, we’ve done a first pass (with a second person checking) of the Hobbit, have almost finished the Silmarillion and have started on the Lord of the Rings. This work, which we will share openly, will enable all sorts of rich analyses in the future, for example searching not just when a particular word occurs but when a particular character says that word. It will also allow some study of stylistic differences between the speech of different characters or different races.

I’ll write more project updates here in the coming weeks, but the best way to follow along more closely with what’s happening at the Digital Tolkien Project is to join the Discord Server.

See you there!